Ranking the NFC East running backs, individually

Yesterday, we got the punters out of the way, so today we’ll do one that’s a little more fun – the running backs.  As always, these are not just rankings of who the best player is.  It’s “Who would I want if I were building an NFL team?”  So in other words, age and upside matter, although contract considerations (terrible contracts like Barber’s), and the fact that some guys are free agents (Bradshaw, Harrison, etc) do not factor in.  Here we go:

Rank Player Team Comment

LeSean McCoy

Eagles We can all agree there really isn’t much of a debate here, right? Good? Good.  Moving on…

Ahmad Bradshaw

Giants I almost put Felix Jones at No. 2, because I really have a tough time with the fumbles (Bradshaw had 7, lost 6). His biggest strength (never giving up on a run) is also his biggest weakness, as he has lost a number of fumbles trying to get the extra yard. While I think Jones is more talented, at some point, you kind of have to… you know… prove it. Jones just hasn’t done enough to warrant being put above a player that rushed for 1,235 yards and 8 TD’s, while also catching 47 balls for 314.

Felix Jones

Cowboys Production doesn’t match the talent.

Brandon Jacobs

Giants Had that monster season in 2008 when he steamrolled his way to 1,089 yards and 15 TD’s on just 219 carries, and then tailed off bigtime. Really just a role player at this point, albeit an awesome role player. There isn’t a team in the league that wouldn’t love to have Jacobs as their 4th quarter sledgehammer, but he’s still very one-dimensional.

Ryan Torain

Redskins Three 100-yard games, including a 172 yard performance against the Bucs last season, 4.5 ypc. Nice player – No way the Skins should pick up a veteran back. Let the kids develop with Torain handling most of the load. That play where he ran through Quintin Mikell like he was a cardboard cutout of Quintin Mikell will be etched in my brain for life.

DeMarco Murray

Cowboys I’ll admit it right off the bat – I may have Murray too high here.  I like Jerome Harrison and Tashard Choice, but I’ll take my chances on the upside of this kid, who I think could make an immediate impact with the Cowboys in his rookie season, particularly in the passing game. Murray had 71 catches his senior season at OU.

Jerome Harrison

Eagles Very nice backup, but not much more – still not quite sure what Cleveland was thinking trading him for Mike freaking Bell. The Eagles may not want to pay what it’ll take to retain him. Had that insane 3-game stretch to close the ’09 season where he went off for 561 yards.

Tashard Choice

Cowboys Week 1 against the Redskins last year, it looked like Choice was going to have a nice little role in the Cowboys offense. They gave him 5 carries in the first half. Then DeAngelo Hall stripped the ball from him like a mugger snatching your granny’s purse and returned it for a demoralizing TD with no time left in the first half. He sat the rest of the game, and Jason Garrett gave him a grand total of 9 carries over the next 10 games. Choice will have to regain that trust.

Marion Barber

Cowboys 3.3 ypc on 113 carries. 4.5 ypc on 11 receptions. Was great in his role as the 4th quarter guy that subbed in for Julius Jones against tired defenses, but never panned out as THE guy, and has gotten progressively worse every season. Let’s call it what it is – He’s just not very good, and there’s almost no chance the Cowboys keep him around in 2011.

Dion Lewis

Eagles I guess this final spot is between Lewis, Roy Helu, and Evan Royster. I’ll go with the guy I think has the most upside. (bias alert)


  1. Taran says:

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  4. john says:

    Mccoy is good, but I wouldn’t say he’s much better than bradshaw, I say mccoy just edges it.
    You could say mccoy play is an passing offense. But take into consideration that although bradshaw had fumbles, he played injured most of the year and also the fact that our offensiveline was banged up.
    Yet he still had a very good season. If our offensive line is healthy and he was healthy, I wouldn’t be suprised him having 1400 yard season

  5. Dan in Philly says:

    I posted this several times over at BGN, but McCoy is now what Westbrook used to be: the secret weapon that all Eagles’ fans know the value of, but the national media hasn’t quite caught on to yet. Westy was great for us while the media hyped McNabb, and by the time he got the attention he deserved, his play was falling big time.

    The amazing thing about McCoy is he’s so young. He’s now at 22 the age most rookies are breaking into the league. Since he plays in a pass happy ofense, it’s unlikely he’ll ever get so many carries his body will break down. He’s a fairly good size (5′ 11″, 210 lbs), so that helps, too. If he stays healthy, you could seriouly see him become the all time best Eagle RB in history. If he stays healthy, I could see him leaving the NFL with the following career line:

    Rushing Yards: 13,000
    Rushing TDs: 85

    Receiving yards: 7,000
    Receiving TDs: 30

    Total yards: 20,000
    Total TDs: 115

    This would put him in the top 5 all time in total yards, and the top 15 in TDs. Avoid the rush and get your McCoy jersey now.

  6. Keep Jim Thorpe in PA!! says:

    Changed my name: Can you believe Jim Thorpe’s Tribe wants to bring his body back to his home town, after they didnt want him in the first place. Isnt it sacreligious to exhume a native american’s body?!? Leave him where he is appreciated!
    … ANYWAY … sorry about that …
    Ryan Torrain … I am all for letting someone develop, but there are short term goals too. I think they SHOULD DEFINATELY add a veteran, at LEAST as a tandem who can share the load and mentor him along. I agree with your assessment of the backs as far as who is top ten, (I would have put Marion Barber higher up) but out of 10 backs only one is a Redskin. This is a team where the backs need to take pressure off of the quarterback situation. They still, IMO, dont have a good answer for the QB position. I hate to say it but McNabb is still the best that they have: and he is not likely to return. With no quality talent at QB, no depth at RB, … sucks to be a LOLSkins fan!

    1. Keep Jim Thorpe in PA!! says:

      Hey Jimmy, its a slow time for headlines, you should do an article about how the family of Jim Thorpe want to exhume his body and take it back to his home state of Oklahoma. The majority of his family wanted him here in PA. Now that the last of the half-sisters have past away, the surviving son, Jack, is suing the town in Federal Court to get the athlete’s body back.
      Here is a link to an article, there is much more about this out there too.
      Just a thought.

  7. Jim Thorpe: Athlete and a Town says:

    Ok, so as an Eagles fan, I think Harrison is a good backup for McCoy and could be a more equal sharing HB tandem. I dont think the Eagles will do that because McCoy is just way better.
    BUT, as far as the Cowboys HB’s, I think that each (Jones, Choice, and Barber) are more talented than they performed. I know you said this about Jones, but I think if their OL was better: 1.) better holes would be openning 2.) the passing game would have clicked a bit better and therefore, there wouldnt be so much pressure on the backs to carry the team.
    Furthermore, now that the Cowboys have a new head coach; maybe moral, performance, and pride will help with their stats. (I hope not. I thoroughly enjoyed watching them fall flat on their face under Wade Phillips! It was like watching those funny home movies where some guy gets hit in the balls. Sucks to be him, but its funny as hell to watch!)

  8. The Legend says:

    I would probably switch Murray & Harrison because it seemed like whenever Harrison got a chance last year he was able to do something good. It will be interesting to see if he comes back because I’m not sure if a team would look at him as a starter like he wants but he can probably find more touches somewhere else since Reid loves Shady so much.

    1. Ry says:

      he was rarely used last year when we picked him up, but when he was used he had a pretty good run in him. I doubt he will want to come back here probably find a place that if he is not a starter, roles out a pretty consistent two back system.

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